Phillies Best Individual Seasons By Uniform Number (51 +)
52 – Ricky Bottalico (1996)
The younger generation of Phillies’ fans may only know Bottalico for his pregame and post-game analysis of Phillies games, however, he had a 12-year Major League career with his two best seasons earlier in his career while with the Phillies.
During Bottalico’s first full season in 1995, he appeared in 62 games, allowing only 50 hits and 87 strikeouts in 87 2/3, posting an impressive 2.46 ERA. Although the ERA was higher in 1996, it was arguably his best overall season after taking over the closer role.
Pitching for a bad Phillies team that finished with just 67 wins and 29 games out of first, Bottalico was one of the bright spots for the team that season. Making his first and only All-Star appearance, Bottalico won four games and saved 34 with an ERA of 3.19. He gave up only 47 hits while striking out 74 batTERS in 67 2/3 innings.
The 1997 season was nearly as good, saving 34 GAMES with 89 strikeouts in 74 innings, although the ERA climbed a bit to 3.65. After a poor 1998 season, Bottalico was off to St. Louis and Kansas City for the 1999 and 2000 seasons as a free agent
Bottalico returned to the Phillies in 2001 and pitched to a 3.90 ERA in 66 games. He finished the final three years of his career with the Diamondbacks, Mets, and Brewers retiring with 116 saves and a 3.99 ERA before going into a career in broadcasting.